The White-Spotted Jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata) is a marine (saltwater) planktonic scyphozoan in the Mastigiidae family of jellyfish. It is a cnidarian. It is also known as the Floating Bell, the Australian Spotted Jellyfish, or the Brown Jellyfish.
The White-Spotted Jellyfish has a deep-brown colour due to the algae living on the tissue. It has a bell-shaped dome with little spots. It does not have stinging tentacles. It does not have eyes. Instead, it has light-sensing organs called ocelli. It is composed of 95% of water, which enables it to float.
Its bell grows to about 50 centimetres (20 inches) long.
It is native to the oceans of Australia, in the sunlight zone of the West Pacific Ocean to Japan. It lives in shallow waters in coastal lagoons.
It moves by jet propulsion. It squeezes the bell shape and pushes water behind it. At other times, it floats with the currents.
It lives in symbiosis with zooxanthellae, which are photosynthetic algae.The zooxanthellae settle in the tissue of the jellyfish and provide photosynthesis products to the jellyfish, and in return, the jellyfish provides the zooxanthellae with nutrients from the soil and the sea water.
The White-Spotted Jellyfish has several small mouths that grab animal plankton to eat. These mouths are along its oral arms.Its predators include marine birds and large fish.
The White-Spotted Jellyfish lives in huge groups, called aggregates.
The female White-Spotted Jellyfish holds her eggs in her white oral arms, where they grow into flower-shaped polyps. The polyps are released into the ocean and attach themselves to solid surfaces. The polyps bud to form new polyps. The polyps undergo metamorphosis and grow a bell, arms, and tentacles. When the polyps are fully grown, they release themselves into the water. The adult phase of the Jellyfish is called a medusa.
The Spotted Jellyfish has a lifespan of about 4 months.
Location of photographs: Sea Life London Aquarium, England
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM